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Ballance plays down colour-blind issue after dusk dismissal

Gary Ballance drives through the off side Getty Images

Yorkshire 315 for 7 (Ballance 109,, Brook 79, Steyn 4-48) vs Hampshire
Scorecard

Gary Ballance seemed to have allayed fears of batting against the pink ball by scoring his first Specsavers County Championship century of the season.

Ballance, who is colour-blind, had previously struggled to pick up the different coloured ball against the white sightscreen, but looked comfortable in his 107.

But his flawless innings went wrong when he was dismissed in freak circumstances by Hampshire's star bowler Dale Steyn shortly before the close.

As the natural light dimmed and the floodlights were switched on, just before the dinner interval, Ballance seemed to begin to struggle with seeing the ball.

The twilight approached just before 8pm, and he appeared completely blinded to an oncoming fast bouncer from Steyn.

Instead of ducking or avoiding a predicted path of the ball, Ballance stood, without footwork, in his stance and wafted his bat to flick the ball to Sam Northeast at mid-wicket.

Ballance, in form again after taking a breal from the game because of fatigue and subsequently stepping down from the Yorkshire captaincy, played down his problems.

"I love batting here," he said. "It was a pretty decent wicket and it felt good batting out there in the middle and I think we have a decent score.

"When we went back out after tea it took a bit of time to get used to the twilight. But I don't want to make any excuses, it was a poor shot. I just got stuck in two minds.

"After tea, from around 7 onwards, it became harder than when the sun was out in the day."

Ballance had been brought to the crease prematurely after Yorkshire had slumped to 21 for 3 having won the toss and elected to bat on a good looking wicket under blue afternoon skies.

Alex Lees lasted just five balls before he was undone by a Fidel Edwards delivery destined to jag back and into leg stump before the ball crashed into the opener's pads.

Chesteshwar Pujara also followed for a duck when he was castled by Steyn - the second time the South African had dismissed the Indian this week, having got him out in the Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final on Monday.

Adam Lyth, who had scored every run in the first 11 overs, continued the collapse when he was caught behind off Gareth Berg.

But the slump was stopped when Ballance and Harry Brook met in the middle as the rebuilding started immediately.

Ballance had taken 23-balls to get off the mark, but ground out his fifty in 99 deliveries - which he brought up with an uncharacteristic hook for six off Fidel Edwards.

Partner Brook was the more aggressive, albeit not outrageously so, moving past 50 for the second time this season in 74 balls - which included a six down the ground to Ollie Rayner.

The former England under 19s captain looked on course for three figures but was undone by the increasingly speedy Steyn - as he was plumb lbw.

Ballance had scored a match saving century and double century in the corresponding fixture last season. In the over before the second break, he steered a classy drive behind point for his 15th four to take himself to three figures from 171 balls - before his freak wicket.

Jonny Tattersall, on his first-class debut, followed soon after as Steyn grabbed his fourth of the day with an outside edge to Rayner at second slip.

Hampshire's overseas star Steyn finished the day with fiery figures of 4 for 48 from his marathon 25 overs, as his fitness ahead of South Africa's tour of Sri Lanka continued to increase.

The second new ball, under the lights, caused more problems to the batsmen - Jack Leaning was dropped by James Vince at first slip before he was bowled by Edwards.

But Tim Bresnan and captain Steven Patterson negotiated the tricky night session with a 38 run stand as Yorkshire ended the day on 315 for seven.